Pre- & Post-Nuptial Agreements

Pre- or post-nuptial agreements (PNAs) regulate the financial arrangements between married couples during marriage, on death or in the event of divorce.

PNAs are now much more likely to be enforced in England and Wales and Hong Kong, making it all the more important to take specialist legal advice.

Some of the more common reasons people have for signing a PNA are as follows:

  • A desire to agree future financial arrangements at a time when the relationship is happy, so as to avoid the need for difficult negotiations or litigation if the relationship breaks down
  • Older couples who already have children from other relationships and want to ensure that, in the event of their death or divorce, some or all of their resources pass to their children rather than to their spouses
  • In cases where there is a significant imbalance in financial resources, a desire to protect family inheritance or pre-acquired resources in the event of a breakdown in relationship

We recognise that the majority of people who enter into prenuptial agreements fervently hope that they will have long and happy marriages and that their documents will end up in bottom drawers, never to see the light of day and we know that discussing financial matters while planning a wedding and, occasionally, being on the receiving end of pressure from family members or friends, can be very stressful and emotional.

We are able to provide both specialist legal advice, including in complex cases with an international dimension, and also sympathetic support in what can be an emotional process.

We have been at the forefront of developing that law in Hong Kong:

Marcus Dearle led the team representing the successful financially stronger husband in LCYP v JEK [2019] HKCFI 1588 in enforcing a New Jersey USA PNA.

This is one of the most important family law decisions to be handed down in Hong Kong since the Court of Final Appeal’s landmark decision in LKW v DD in 2010 which brought in the ‘equal sharing’ principle. The case has significant international ramifications. It provided much-needed clarification of the law relating to PNAs. The decision confirms that signing a properly drafted and negotiated PNA has material consequences for a financial weaker spouse: the court ordered that 21.4% of the wife’s lump sum award is to be returned to the husband or his estate at a later date.

The law made in LCYP v JEK is the same law as the law in England and Wales.

Julia Stanczyk is frequently instructed to draft nuptial settlements, including for household names. The assets involved range from under £1m to in excess of £100m and often have an international element to them.

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If you’re seeking representation or just interested in knowing more about Miles Preston, please contact us.

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